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Gauging interest in Cartridge Slot Extension Set


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#26 mytekcontrols ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:41 AM

I would love to have had an extension like this back in the 90's .. so I didn't have to wrap my cart extension cable in foil, and keep it rather short in order for it to work well.  Long story short:  130XE, MIO, XF551, Gumby, Transkey 1 in an AT tower case. Cart port was routed to the front 3.5" slot.
 
I'd buy a full kit now too, for another project that is sitting in the to-do pile.


Sounds like you had the same issues as I did with my early put an 'A8 in a PC box', and how to get the Cart to work reliably. This is where this project really makes a lot of sense having the active buffers. So yes I would definitely vote for doing this for the Cart, but not so much for the ECI. This way you can keep it compact, and relatively inexpensive at the same time. Also I suspect it'll be more universal, better able to fit in any system.

- Michael

#27 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:53 AM

Okay, now we know for sure that there is at least one 130XE cart/ECI device (TurboFreezer)  that needs to be external to the case and a fairly popular one at that.  :)

 

The trick is going to be orientation of the remote pcb that will allow easy access to the front of the device while at the same time not exposing excessive pcb to be broken or jerked loose if bumped. 

 

One final question:  Has any of the beta testers attempted to verify that the Freezer 2011 will work in the 1088XEL?

I can test this tonight.



#28 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:11 AM

Okay..........  
 
The first part is done.  Actually it's the easy part.  :)
 
Again this is rough and untested.
 
130XE00.png

The headers could be replaced with box headers keyed so that the ribbon cable is not inserted wrong. At present no device uses the reserved pin on the ECI connector, but who's to say no one ever will.  So it can be buffered, connected or not as the case maybe.  Board is reduced in height to 60mm.  Length does increase to 81mm.  Board part cost is increased by about 3 dollars.  The additional ribbon cable and connectors bumps up the cost by another 4 - 6 dollars. 

 

What remains is how best to design the orientation of the remote pcb.  The desire is to have as much of the connector inside the case as possible for protection against breakage, since it will be more or less permanently attached to the case.  But allow best orientation of the Freezer 2011 for switch access. 

 

Working on that...... :)



#29 Brentarian ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:20 AM

I have had my Turbo Freezer for less time than the 1088XEL, so I haven't tested every feature.  I was able to freeze the computer then later restored it to same state -- and everything seemed to be ok.  With the Freezer connected however it looks like it overrides the U1MB, or at least the U1MB setup menu as it cannot be accessed.  

 

Is there anybody out there using the Turbo Freezer with a U1MB installed (on any model)?  



#30 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:47 AM

I have had my Turbo Freezer for less time than the 1088XEL, so I haven't tested every feature.  I was able to freeze the computer then later restored it to same state -- and everything seemed to be ok.  With the Freezer connected however it looks like it overrides the U1MB, or at least the U1MB setup menu as it cannot be accessed.  

 

Is there anybody out there using the Turbo Freezer with a U1MB installed (on any model)?  

No - I admit I've barely touched the freezer, but when I have used it, it has only been with a 320kB machine.



#31 917k OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:54 AM

I have been trying to figure out how to do this myself for use with my ECLAIREXL so I am absolutely in for 3-4 of these. 



#32 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:56 PM

Another question:

 

   I believe Panos created a newer version of the TurboFreezer back last year.  Can any of the 1088XEL testers test that as well?



#33 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:51 AM

I can test this tonight.

 

Hi Stephen,

 

     Were you able to test it last night? 



#34 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:02 AM

I'm running into reality here. The design of both the TurboFreezer 2011 and the later one by Panos assume the adapter board is inserted on a horizontal plane to the back of the A8 computer. That means the TurboFreezer is orientated so that the front of the cartridge points to the user. Support for the adapter board is short spacers that sit on the top of the same plane the A8 sits on. All is good and well...... until.....

You try to adapt it to the 1088XEL. It's not really the 1088XEL's fault. It's the nature of a custom horizontal design trying to fit in a standard vertical case. :(

Unless you cut a hole into the bottom left side of the case you are using you can't do a right angle at the connector on the 1088XEL motherboard. Same is true if you try a bottom frontal cut on the case. Even then the orientation of the TurboFreezer is now towards the side of the case and not facing the user or is facing completely the opposite direction. But that provides the best possible support option for the adapter board and TurboFreezer cartridge. Usually just an inch or two of spacers to keep the adapter board level and the strain off the port connector.

If you try to setup a cartridge/ECI port in say a drive bay, now you literately have no support for about three to five inches of adapter pcb that sticks out and the orientation of the TurboFreezer itself is backwards to the user/front of the case.  :(

Now if you go the extra step of redesigning the adapter board you might be able to make something work...... maybe. But that starts going down a slippery slope I don't want to go down and far exceeds the parameters that I started this project with. To develop a cartridge slot extension for the 1088XEL and hopefully on re-cased Atari 800XL and 130XE motherboards as well. A bridge too far as it were.

I think at this point it will take a redesign of the actual TurboFreezer to contain the board inside the case and only have the controls exposed for access on say a daughter board.  Maybe a project for next year or so, but not anytime soon for me.  Panos maybe able to adapt his version easier and in a shorter time.  That is for him to say.  :)

 

The active buffering of the signals for the cartridge/ECI slots of the 1088XEL is a good first step and could lay the foundation for other options.  I think it's time to narrow the scope of the project back to the original line of thought at least for me.  :(



#35 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:30 AM

 

Hi Stephen,

 

     Were you able to test it last night? 

Sorry - I was not.  It won't fit until I take the machine out of the case.  I'll do that ASAP since I need to convert the 1088 back to PAL to do some more testing.  I seem to have made a really bad choice in using the cart connector I did.  It has "tabs" and mounting ears on the ends and is interfering with some carts being inserted.  I do not know how I will fix this.  I don't really want to attempt desoldering and removing it.



#36 orpheuswaking OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:42 PM

Sorry - I was not.  It won't fit until I take the machine out of the case.  I'll do that ASAP since I need to convert the 1088 back to PAL to do some more testing.  I seem to have made a really bad choice in using the cart connector I did.  It has "tabs" and mounting ears on the ends and is interfering with some carts being inserted.  I do not know how I will fix this.  I don't really want to attempt desoldering and removing it.

 Dremel and a steady hand 



#37 mytekcontrols ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:48 PM

Never mind Orpheus already mentioned what I was thinking  :dunce:

- Michael


Edited by mytekcontrols, Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:49 PM.


#38 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:02 PM

I don't have particular need of this product, but it reminded me that I needed to order one of your 1200XL cartridge port extensions. 

​And ... done. :)

 

Hey Lenore - I got one of your 1200XL cartridge slot extension boards and it's great!

 

Win10 - through some miracle of 21st century tech - includes an .stl file viewer/modeler and has links to an MS-sanctioned online printing service but it looks to be about $30 to print a case for this board. So my question to anyone who's used online 3D printing services is does this price seem out of line? Are there alternative sources that might be better/cheaper? Or ... what. :)

 

Sorry for the hijack but didn't seem worth creating a new thread. 



#39 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:03 PM

 

Hey Lenore - I got one of your 1200XL cartridge slot extension boards and it's great!

 

Win10 - through some miracle of 21st century tech - includes an .stl file viewer/modeler and has links to an MS-sanctioned online printing service but it looks to be about $30 to print a case for this board. So my question to anyone who's used online 3D printing services is does this price seem out of line? Are there alternative sources that might be better/cheaper? Or ... what. :)

 

Sorry for the hijack but didn't seem worth creating a new thread. 

 

You might take a look at www.shapeways.com.  Not sure if it's better pricing, but they offer several different kinds of materials to make the case from.



#40 mytekcontrols ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:06 PM

 

Hey Lenore - I got one of your 1200XL cartridge slot extension boards and it's great!

 

Win10 - through some miracle of 21st century tech - includes an .stl file viewer/modeler and has links to an MS-sanctioned online printing service but it looks to be about $30 to print a case for this board. So my question to anyone who's used online 3D printing services is does this price seem out of line? Are there alternative sources that might be better/cheaper? Or ... what. :)

 

Sorry for the hijack but didn't seem worth creating a new thread. 

 

Here's a good option that I've used: TreatStock

 

They are a clearing house connected to 3D printers across the country and have a very easy to use selection based upon material and price.

 

- Michael



#41 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:32 PM

One caveat you may face is the dreaded reality of material shrinkage/expansion.  I've tried to account for a little shrinkage/expansion, but not so much that the board is too loose in cartridge or the cartridge won't fit the slot.  However the material and the printer used rain supreme in the 3d printer world still.  And there's still not 100% repeatably even with the same printer and material from one week to the next. 

 

If you have a friend who has a 3d printer I'd bribe him/her to make a test print first.  It might save you some money in the long run.  Worst case you'll know what not to use. 



#42 flashjazzcat OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:23 AM

Is there anybody out there using the Turbo Freezer with a U1MB installed (on any model)?


Yes. Turbo Freezer works perfectly with U1MB providing my "alt" U1MB BIOS is used.

#43 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:43 PM

FYI:

 

    Protoboards sent to the board house.

 

    Three boards:

 

     XEL style cartridge/ECI buffering board

 

     600XL/800XL style cartridge port only buffering board

 

     600XL/800XL style cartridge port only remote board

 

Should recieve the finished boards in a week to 10 days.

 

Then testing begins.



#44 Van OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:46 PM

Hi Dropcheck, interested in these. Being able to move the Cart port to my front panel  is a must for me. The buffered Cart only board is attractive to me, but seems a little over kill for a short cable.

 

To test this view point, I prototyped a simple extension, using a 18cm ribbon cable. I also incorporated a '244 to act as a control signals switch; I plan on an internal Flash 'cart' and switch between int/ext or none. Here are some photos of the boards

Interconnected_and_running.JPG

 

Running Centipede

Centipede_Cart_booted.JPG

 

The '244 is enabled with a jumper to GND for testing, the /CART_EN signal will come from a '74 switching circuit (yet to be built). This is a 'cut down' version of the project by Toriman, I posted a link earlier in this thread. It will just be an A/B or None switch.

Cart_conn_board.JPG

 

The 30 pin header has all the control signals routed thru the '244 to allow selection, the ADR and Data busses are directlly connected to the system. The 34 pin header will connect to the switching/SIC! cart circuits, passing all system Cart busses off board and return the /CART_EN for the external Cart port.

 

For moving the cart to a more convenient location in a Mini-ITX case 18cm is sufficient to reach all four walls and in most cases a shorter cable would work fine. Without the switching circuit, the adapter board could be as simple as 30p edgeboard fingers to 30p header or SIP header to match the Cart footprint stuffed with SIP sockets.

 

Because I haven't tested with any of the modern flash or SD based carts, there still may be 'gotchas' with the un-buffered connection.

Yogi

 



#45 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:45 PM

Hi Dropcheck, interested in these. Being able to move the Cart port to my front panel  is a must for me. The buffered Cart only board is attractive to me, but seems a little over kill for a short cable.

 

To test this view point, I prototyped a simple extension, using a 18cm ribbon cable. I also incorporated a '244 to act as a control signals switch; I plan on an internal Flash 'cart' and switch between int/ext or none. Here are some photos of the boards

attachicon.gifInterconnected_and_running.JPG

 

Running Centipede

attachicon.gifCentipede_Cart_booted.JPG

 

The '244 is enabled with a jumper to GND for testing, the /CART_EN signal will come from a '74 switching circuit (yet to be built). This is a 'cut down' version of the project by Toriman, I posted a link earlier in this thread. It will just be an A/B or None switch.

attachicon.gifCart_conn_board.JPG

 

The 30 pin header has all the control signals routed thru the '244 to allow selection, the ADR and Data busses are directlly connected to the system. The 34 pin header will connect to the switching/SIC! cart circuits, passing all system Cart busses off board and return the /CART_EN for the external Cart port.

 

For moving the cart to a more convenient location in a Mini-ITX case 18cm is sufficient to reach all four walls and in most cases a shorter cable would work fine. Without the switching circuit, the adapter board could be as simple as 30p edgeboard fingers to 30p header or SIP header to match the Cart footprint stuffed with SIP sockets.

 

Because I haven't tested with any of the modern flash or SD based carts, there still may be 'gotchas' with the un-buffered connection.

Yogi

 

 

Hi Van,

 

     Interesting...  

 

     I wish your link for Toriman's project was working.  It just sends me to a under construction page.  :(

 

     My boards are supposed to be here Thursday.  I suspect that with longer cabling the active buffering will make a difference.  One of the projects I have in mind is using a Micro-ATX tower case with the 1088XEL board.  I have my reasons, that I don't want to get into here or yet.  :)



#46 Van OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:12 PM

 

Hi Van,

 

     Interesting...  

 

     I wish your link for Toriman's project was working.  It just sends me to a under construction page.  :(

 

     My boards are supposed to be here Thursday.  I suspect that with longer cabling the active buffering will make a difference.  One of the projects I have in mind is using a Micro-ATX tower case with the 1088XEL board.  I have my reasons, that I don't want to get into here or yet.  :)

You are absolutely correct, even at 18cm I'm guessing it's close to the limit. Just for a very compact cases. The extra protection afforded by the buffers is very useful. Looking forward to your board testing :)

 

Here is Toriman's Polish site http://raven1.magix....r/expander.html

and the Google translate https://translate.go...r/expander.html

Yogi



#47 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 9, 2017 4:24 PM

Update:

 

Test boards came in some time ago.  Since then I've been fighting with myself it seems.  Couldn't get the dumb board to work.  I knew I had a footprint error on the resistor network chip, but I didn't realize it was as bad as it was.  Tried everything I could to fix it.  Finally stubbornly I decided to build up a new board instead of messing with the current board any longer.  This time I made sure the resistor network chip was firmly seated and soldered onto the board.  That seemed to be where my problem was.  Every cartridge I've inserted has booted normally since.  I then lengthened the ribbon cable to a full 18 inches.  Still going strong.  I haven't finished testing yet, but it looks to be a go project now.

 

Here's a couple pics.

 

DSC_2400.jpg

 

DSC_2403.jpg



#48 mytekcontrols ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 9, 2017 10:05 PM

Update:

 

Test boards came in some time ago.  Since then I've been fighting with myself it seems.  Couldn't get the dumb board to work.  I knew I had a footprint error on the resistor network chip, but I didn't realize it was as bad as it was.  Tried everything I could to fix it.  Finally stubbornly I decided to build up a new board instead of messing with the current board any longer.  This time I made sure the resistor network chip was firmly seated and soldered onto the board.  That seemed to be where my problem was.  Every cartridge I've inserted has booted normally since.  I then lengthened the ribbon cable to a full 18 inches.  Still going strong.  I haven't finished testing yet, but it looks to be a go project now.

Nice  :thumbsup:

 

It would have been really cool to integrate this into the 1088 XEL board, but it was a no-go due to the limited board space. But thanks to you, we have a perfectly good 'external' solution.

 

You've earned your free XEL board when I do the next run (although you will need to assemble it  ;) ).

 

- Michael


Edited by mytekcontrols, Sun Jul 9, 2017 10:06 PM.


#49 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 9, 2017 10:35 PM

Nice  :thumbsup:

 

It would have been really cool to integrate this into the 1088 XEL board, but it was a no-go due to the limited board space. But thanks to you, we have a perfectly good 'external' solution.

 

You've earned your free XEL board when I do the next run (although you will need to assemble it  ;) ).

 

- Michael

 

 

I have already started collecting the parts.  :grin:



#50 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:13 AM

Hi Dropcheck, interested in these. Being able to move the Cart port to my front panel  is a must for me. The buffered Cart only board is attractive to me, but seems a little over kill for a short cable.

 

To test this view point, I prototyped a simple extension, using a 18cm ribbon cable. I also incorporated a '244 to act as a control signals switch; I plan on an internal Flash 'cart' and switch between int/ext or none. Here are some photos of the boards

attachicon.gifInterconnected_and_running.JPG

 

Running Centipede

attachicon.gifCentipede_Cart_booted.JPG

 

The '244 is enabled with a jumper to GND for testing, the /CART_EN signal will come from a '74 switching circuit (yet to be built). This is a 'cut down' version of the project by Toriman, I posted a link earlier in this thread. It will just be an A/B or None switch.

attachicon.gifCart_conn_board.JPG

 

The 30 pin header has all the control signals routed thru the '244 to allow selection, the ADR and Data busses are directlly connected to the system. The 34 pin header will connect to the switching/SIC! cart circuits, passing all system Cart busses off board and return the /CART_EN for the external Cart port.

 

For moving the cart to a more convenient location in a Mini-ITX case 18cm is sufficient to reach all four walls and in most cases a shorter cable would work fine. Without the switching circuit, the adapter board could be as simple as 30p edgeboard fingers to 30p header or SIP header to match the Cart footprint stuffed with SIP sockets.

 

Because I haven't tested with any of the modern flash or SD based carts, there still may be 'gotchas' with the un-buffered connection.

Yogi

 

 

Hi Van,

 

      I am intrigued with the switch circuit you mentioned.  I would think it would have to be automatic, sense type switching circuit right....?    I'd hate to have to run more wire from the external connector to the switching board.  :(

 

      How's the clearance from the cart connector towards the middle of the board?  Height and width clearances...   The version in the photo seems to hang off the wrong side of the mainboard. :)


Edited by Dropcheck, Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:14 AM.





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